Database Consolidation – The Secret Sauce

While our Boston-based, snow-bound colleagues at Ntirety may disagree, spring is just around the corner. For many organizations, it is a perfect time to do some spring cleaning – of their databases. With first quarter planning meetings and sales kickoffs, it’s easy to let database management slip down the list of priorities. Companies can often reduce unnecessary IT expenses and total cost of ownership (TCO) by consolidating their databases. However, database consolidation involves a depth of analysis and expertise that isn’t always found in-house. Following are three key factors to address in order to gain the maximum return from your database consolidation.

A database consolidation strategy

Database consolidation isn’t always one-size-fits-all. Organizations need to consider their business objectives, IT environment, data requirements, and best practices before deciding on a strategy for consolidating their database. When launching a database consolidation project, there are a few important questions that need to be answered:

• Will you consolidate on a database basis, instance basis, and/or enterprise basis?

• Will you be on a virtualized infrastructure?

Database basis

In this scenario, databases are consolidated from different instances. They are then brought together based on performance characteristics (to maximize database-to-instance density and efficiency) and/or functional purpose (to create instances that only serve specific business purposes).

Instance basis

Here, multiple instances are consolidated on a separate physical and/or virtual machine (VM).

Enterprise basis

In this in case, you consolidate to achieve a net reduction in required hardware (CPU, memory and disk IOPS) across the infrastructure that supports the database environment.

Virtualization basis

Here, the database layer is detached and disassociated from the physical machine in order to bring it to a VM.

Many organizations, particularly small and mid-sized enterprises (SMBs), tend to approach consolidation from a macro levels without considering such factors as their inventory of business-critical applications versus “lightweight” applications, which can impact database performance.

High availability and disaster recovery plans

High availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) plans are essential to every business. They ensure that business-critical systems are available at all times that data can be recovered in the event of a hardware or software failure, cyberattack, security breach, user failure or disaster. However, many in-house IT teams don’t understand how HA and DR affects the database engine from a performance and service level perspective.

A seasoned database administrator (DBA) will gather the performance characteristics of an organization’s current environment, and compare those characteristics to the HA / DR topologies being considered to achieve the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). In addition to HA and DR, a DBA can analyze and execute other approaches to system recovery including failover, fault tolerant systems, system recovery, and system migration.

An architecture plan

Prior to launching a database consolidation, organizations need to build an architecture plan. This encompasses the system, network, and database architecture. Engaging with a data architect who has expertise in different database platform provides the following benefits.

  • Data architects can map from an old topology to a new topology
  • They understand logical and physical data modeling, and how various database and hardware components interact at their deepest levels
  • They are possess performance-tuning skills

There are  many different types of DBAs, including data architects. Any while many organizations have one or more solution architects (SAs) on staff, few have dedicated DBAs that possess all of the necessary skill sets. In most cases, an individual DBA won’t know how all of the different elements of a database consolidation project work together.

Ntirety database consolidation experts

Ntirety, a division of HOSTING, provides the expertise, methodology, tools, and unique database analysis techniques to ensure that organizations develop and execute an optimized approach to database consolidation. Their team of expert DBAs has developed the secret sauce to ensure that database consolidation projects are executed on time and on budget. Learn more by downloading their latest white paper, Database Consolidation – The Secret Sauce.

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